Weaving Amy’s Prayer Shawl
A few weeks ago, I received a message from Amy on a social media channel, about the shawls and scarves that I weave. As a result of that, I offered to weave a prayer shawl for her. As I am involved with the Prayer Shawl Ministry at Liverpool Cathedral, I was given permission to have it blessed at one of the Cathedral services.
I checked with Amy what colours she would like in her shawl and what type of fibre she would prefer.
Then I collected together some possible yarns and wove some samples. Sampling allows me to see how the colours work together, and also to decide which pattern to use.
From those samples I chose Scheepjes Whirlette in the colourway Bubble for the warp and Scheepjes Whirl in colourway BrambleBerry for the weft.
Now I am almost ready to begin but before I do, I turn to prayer and commit the project and Amy and myself to the Lord and ask His blessing on what I will make. Quite often a passage of Scripture will come to me, and I use that to write a prayer and then I use that prayer throughout my weaving. I also use prayers from a booklet that has been produced by Liverpool Cathedral for our Prayer Shawl Ministry team.
The first task in weaving is to calculate the number of threads you will need and then to wind a warp on my warping board.
For this project, I needed 198 threads. I usually count as I go along in multiples of 20. I always double check to make sure I have the correct number and then I place a marker around each group of 20.
Once the warp is wound, and secured at various points, it’s ready to be taken off the warping board and chained.
Now it’s time to ‘dress' the loom which involves…
…securing the warp on the back beam of the loom and spreading it out evenly
…threading the heddles. The heddles allow each thread to be raised in a particular pattern. If these are threaded wrongly, the pattern won’t work.
..threading the reed - which keeps the threads in position and maintains the correct width – the last part of ‘dressing’ the loom is to secure the warp on the front beam, making sure the tension is even across the width of the warp
The final preparation task is to wind the shuttles with the weft yarn and then the weaving can begin!
Once I have woven a few inches, I secure the warp threads by hemstitching in groups of two. This ensures that the weaving won’t unravel when it’s taken off the loom. The first few rows of weaving are always exciting. As you begin to see the pattern emerging, you realize that all the hard work of warping has been worth it, and you know that you can settle down and enjoy the meditative rhythm of weaving and praying.
When the desired length is reached, another row of hemstitching is done and then the warp threads are cut and I can wind the shawl off the front beam of the loom.
I finish off the shawl by securing any ends on the back of the shawl, and then twist the fringe.
The shawl is now ready to be taken to the Cathedral, to be labelled, gift-wrapped and then blessed.
The shawl was blessed on Ascension Day at the High Altar of Liverpool Cathedral by one of the Cathedral Canons.
I Felt You and I knew you loved me
I have been making prayer shawls for about 8 years now. It began after I read an article in a magazine about the spirituality of knitting. The prayer shawl ministry was mentioned and it gave their website. When I read more about it, I thought it was something I would love to be involved in. The website gave information about churches and other organizations that were involved with this ministry – most of these were in America, but there were some in the UK. Sadly, none were local to me. So, I decided to make a shawl anyway and give it to someone I knew. My gift was so well received, that I was encouraged to carry on.
To begin with, my shawls were either knitted or crocheted. When I learnt to weave and my skills gradually improved, I started to weave shawls as well. There is something very mediative about weaving and praying!
At the beginning of 2020, I learnt that Liverpool Cathedral were about to start this ministry, so I registered to join their team. It has been a wonderful blessing to me and a great privilege to be involved with this ministry at the Cathedral and to use my creative gifts in this way, holding people before God in prayer as I weave.
For information about the Prayer Shawl Ministry go to
For information about Liverpool Cathedral go to https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/